Question about Acer Aspire AM1620-B1209A MiniTower Desktop PC & 20.1 LCD Bundle
I am trying to troubleshoot a problem for a work associate from my partner's job. The computer was given to me with the description of "it won't turn on." Upon hooking up the computer, I discovered that it does power on, but will not send a video signal to the monitor. I hooked the monitor up to my personal laptop, and produced a video image in duplicate of what was on the laptop's screen, so I deduced that both the video cable and the monitor were in working order. I then figured that the onboard video port perhaps was bad. I ordered and installed a video card in the expansion slot on the motherboard. I received the same results: initial "Acer" logo, then "No Signal" appears on the screen. I then hooked up my LCD television that has a video port on it to the computer. There again, was no picture from the computer. The unit itself powers on, the NIC card has lights, the CD drive opens, shuts, and has lights, and the heat fan works. Since all those work, but the video does not, and installing a new video card did not help, I am at a loss as to what to do next. I thought a new motherboard may be the solution, but I am not completely convinced that the motherboard is bad since the computer seems to work minus video output. Can anyone offer a viable solution?
Long read; better put the coffee pot on
I would like you to entertain the idea, that the Power Supply has a weak voltage power rail.
A) The two leading causes of desktop computer failure, is the computer is dirty inside, and Power Supply failure.
B) Although a lot of pre-built computer manufacturers use low quality Power Supply's, 'Gunk' 'kills' them.
('Gunk' = Dirt, dust, hair, lint, food crumbs, carpet deodorizer, spider webs; you name it)
Clogs the Power Supply's cooling components.
Power Supply's used in today's personal computers are SMPS.
Switched-Mode Power Supply.
Let's view the inside of an average example,
I invite you to click on the photo of the open case Power Supply, at the upper right.
In-between the letters B and C; and C and D, are Heatsinks.
[B = Top view of Radial Aluminum Electrolytic Capacitor.
C = Transformer
D = Choke Coil ]
Finned rectangular block shapes, connected together in a row.
The Heatsink absorbs heat from whatever object it is placed against, and the rectangular fins radiate the heat away.
There is a small internal fan at the back, that helps to carry heat away from the fins of the Heatsink.
If the cooling components for the Power Supply are clogged with 'Gunk', their cooling capacity drops tremendously.
[Fan and Heatsink fins ]
Heat = Wasted Energy
The Power Supply overheats, but tries to keep up with the call for power, and eventually cannot.
Component failure inside.
A weak voltage power rail results.
C) 1) If ALL of the LED's were on at once, they would use less than 1 Watt of power.
2) EACH fan uses 2 to 3 Watts of power.
3) A typical Processor can use 51 to 125 Watts of power. Just depends on what Processor it is.
Reviews state the Acer Aspire AM1620-B1209A Desktop PC, comes with an Intel Pentium Dual-Core E2140 processor,
Can use up to 65 Watts of power. [ TDP = Thermal Design Power. 65W stands for 65 Watts ]
This is why Light Emitting Diodes may light, (LED), and fans may spin, but the computer doesn't work. (No Signal = No VIDEO signal )
Not enough power to turn the Processor on.
Weak voltage power rail.
(An optical drive uses about 10 Watts)
[There are three voltage power rails; 3.3 Volts, 5 Volts, and 12 Volts. All are DC Voltage. In comparison two D cell flashlight batteries produce 3 Volts DC.
The dangerous AC voltage is contained within the metal case, of the Power Supply ]
If when you opened the computer case you see a dirty computer, the Power Supply will be dirty inside also.
[ALWAYS unplug from power, and FOLLOW Anti-Static Precautions; BEFORE reaching inside a computer ]
When diagnosing a desktop computer problem, ALWAYS start with power first.
Is there a computer that has a KNOWN to be good, Compatible Power Supply, that you can borrow for a test unit?
Won't hurt it.
If not do you have access to a multimeter?
An economical model can be purchased for as little as $5 to $12.
Available at a multitude of stores.
An auto parts store is but one example. I have seen them on checkout aisle racks, at large discount stores.
I can guide you step by step in using.
(You will be testing for 3.3 Volts DC, 5 Volts DC, and 12 Volts DC.
Remember about two D cell flashlight batteries -> 3 Volts DC, in case you are worried about getting shocked )
D) Also suggest remove the Ram Memory module/s ('Stick'), and clean the gold plated contact pins, with a pencil eraser.
Average example of a ram memory module, as used in a desktop computer,
Everywhere on the ram memory module ('Stick'), EXCEPT the gold plated contact pins at the bottom; is the BODY.
Handle the ram memory module by the Body, refrain from touching the gold plated contact pins.
The Body is coated with a see-through protective plastic.
[Example shown is DDR Sdram. The Acer you're working on uses DDR2 Sdram.
DDR has 184 contact pins. 92 on each side.
DDR2 has 240 contact pins. 120 on each side ]
If you are using an eraser on the end of a pencil, and not a solid eraser, refrain from letting the metal band of the pencil, touch the gold plated contact pins.
Rub up, and down on EACH contact pin. BOTH sides. Doesn't really take all that long.
You don't have to rub very hard, or all that much.
Doesn't take much to clean the contact pins.
In fact when you are done, it may seem like you have done nothing at all.
The contact pins may not be bright, and shiny.
I assure you that you have cleaned them.
Doesn't take much 'corrosion', to make a bad contact surface.
Use air to remove the eraser dust. If you have a can of compressed air for computers available, use it. If not air pressure from your mouth will be sufficient.
(Also if a can of air is available, suggest use it to clean out the ram memory slots )
When suspecting motherboard failure, look first at the Electrolytic Capacitors. (Radial Aluminum Electrolytic Capacitor)
Acer is a budget computer company. May not seem like it for the price paid for that Aspire M1620, but they are.
As such they use low quality Electrolytic Capacitors.
(That is, the motherboard manufacturer who made the motherboard for them, did)
Better motherboard manufacturers use solid Polymer capacitors.
A whole LOT less chance of failure.
Therefore the Radial Aluminum Electrolytic Capacitors on a motherboard, are the weakest link.
Very seldom a Northbridge chip will go out, or a Southbridge chip.
If so you will KNOW it. They will be blackened, (Burned), or blistered.
The motherboard chipset design for the motherboard, in the Acer computer you are working on, uses a Northbridge chip, and a Southbridge chip,
[CPU = Central Processing Unit. Another term used is Microprocessor, or simply Processor for short.
It is NOT a personal computer designation. I keep telling people this.
You will confuse information with using the wrong designation ]
Look at the Acer Support specifications again.
The motherboard chipset, (System Chipset), is an Intel 945GC - Northbridge chip, and an Intel ICH7 - Southbridge chip.
The Northbridge chip is under that tall shiny finned Heatsink, sitting below the Processor, and has Foxconn in the middle of it.
Heatsink removed, (And Thermal Glue), you would see Intel part number - Intel 82945GC.
The Southbridge chip is under the other small finned aluminum Heatsink. It sits to the Right of the white PCI slots.
Heatsink removed you would see Intel part number - Intel 82801DB
[ Chip and Chipset are slang terms for I.C.
Bet you use a test Power Supply, and the computer comes on.
For additional questions, or to have me clarify further on anything I have stated above, please post in a Comment.
(Yes. It looks as though I'm writing a book, or perhaps have a big head. What I am trying to do is cram years of knowledge in a few sentences for you, so you will have a good base in diagnosing desktop computer failure )
Posted on Nov 06, 2012
Testimonial: "joecoolvette had the most detailed and helpful advice, and stuck in there with me til the end! Thanks ever so much."
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Posted on Jan 02, 2017
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